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sound from the $10,000 question, the $10,000 bet that mitt romney posed to rick perry. romney has a tendency to short-circuit when he's challenged. and when he does, it gets awkward. >> the only reason you didn't become a career politician is you lost to teddy kennedy in 1994. >> now, wait a second. wait a second. 10,000 bucks? $10,000 bet? >> i'm not in the betting business. >> okay. >> rick, again -- i'm speaking. i'm speaking. >> you said you knew you had illegals working at your -- >> so we put all of that sound together to prove a point, which is that romney has this way of inducing cringes when he's either challenged or when he's in an awkward moment. i honestly think the thing that
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was so unpalatable about the $10,000 bet is that it just spoke to a guy that is not sort of capable of pivoting or being -- his human emotions kind of get -- his lack of human emotions get in the way sometimes when he is on the defensive and you saw that sound and it's this kind of, wait, wait, wait, anderson. it's all part and parcel of a larger problem that mitt romney has, which is to say connecting. >> that's a good -- i remember the voter before the 2008 iowa caucuses at a huckabee event. i say, have you been for huckabee for a long time? she says, no, i was for romney. i said, what changed? i met him. and that sort of moment about mitt romney is one of the difficulties he has. also he has so many advisers and he is so -- everything -- there's not a spontaneous word.
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everything has been coached. everything has been gamed. and he's now up against mr. spon nay spontaneity candidate, mr. gingrich. >> as david axelrod says, he or she presidential campaigns are mris for the soul. you see a debate, which is pretty close to being in a room, or to walter's point, you're in the room, this is not a guy who wears well. >> for most of this year, to walter's point, the advisers, the plan, all of that infrastructure was an asset. and he looked presidential, much more so than the rest of the field. you showed a clip, those two moments where he was basically provoked to this very awkward response, both times by rick perry because rick perry pressed a button repeatedly -- this last
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debate, he kept pressing on the issue of the book even after they had gone back and forth and back and forth. when i heard him say, perry, again this thing about the book, i thought, that's odd. but romney came in with the bet and blew it all up. it's because he's a lawyer and he can't stand to be challenged and told -- not technically as a lawyer. but he lawyers things out. and when people say, you're wrong, he can't stand that. >> in defense of romney, from reading a couple of post-debate fact checks, he seems to be mostly right. had rick perry put up the $10,000, rick perry would be $10,000 lighter. >> it's almost that crossing guard mentality of the guy who's so used to order and he can't stand when things are out of order. it seems like the romney campaign is making more of an effort to humanize him. we saw stories in "the new york times" this weekend where he may have personal net worth of up to $250 million. but at the end of day, he's a very frugal guy.
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does this attempt to humanize romney work? >> it may work. i don't think one should in any way downplay the assets he has, including the fact that he is the one candidate in this republican race who is never going to have to worry about money because he put $50 million of his own money in on a long shot in 2008. he certainly has the ability to partially self-fund if the fund-raising goes dry. no one else in this race has that option with the exception of john "invisible in the polls" huntsman and his family. >> jon huntsman not invited to the debate because of his poll numbers. >> there's an architect for this. the idea of warren buffett having a lot of money and still being thrifty and that's part of his investment strategies and how he talks about his business work. a lot of americans look up to people who are self-made. it fits into the narrative about taking his children to burger king instead of fancy restaurants.
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does it feel real is the question. >> that's always the question with mitt romney. this bears mentioning. we talk a lot about who has the money and who's sort of flossy. let's look at newt gingrich, who is the person with $500,000 in private jet fees and a resolving $500,000 account at tiffany's and someone who charged his campaign. if we're going to examine that sort of idea of the spendthrift, is not newt gingrich one -- >> the only thing in newt's defense -- and the other ones i will not defend -- is mitt romney would not need $500,000 credit line at tiffany's. he'd pay cash. so would jon huntsman. there is a man of the people quality to having to borrow the money to pay -- not much of a man of the people quality. >> to whether or not the humanization works, i think it's
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going to take a while to figure it out. i think it's pretty clear that the campaign is going on for a long time unless gingrich continues to ascend and wins three, four or even all four -- barring that, if romney wins two out of four in january, i think we're in for a long campaign and i think it's going to be an interesting one because gingrich doesn't have a lot of money or infrastructure right now. >> and the idea of proportional allocation -- >> it's back-loaded. >> it is. it could end in march or it could go to june. it really is anyone's guess. i want to talk a little bit about the also rands, the folks also sharing the stage. a lot of folks said this is michele bachmann's strongest moments in the debates. do you think she picks up any juice going into iowa? >> i think yes. i think that -- i came with my favorite little detail. 40% of all caucusgoers in 2008
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made up their minds in the prior week, that for a candidate like rick santorum or michele bachmann, there is still plenty of time despite their microscopic place in the polls. so, yeah, with the social conservative vote all over the map, it's certainly possible. >> you've covered eight presidential campaigns, right? >> this is my ninth. harding was my first. >> i think what you see in iowa and particularly in this race, if you look a the recent poll, when you count who has contacted you the most in this race, which still matters on the ground to some people, you see bachmann and paul in the lead. they haven't been able to get up from that basic sort of factoid and turned it into support yet. but that doesn't mean in the end when you rely on precinct captains that night that it doesn't matter. in the case of paul -- you've seen it in the debates -- there's a deference to him.
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but he does carry some sort of credentials. >> and ron paul may have actual juice going into the rest of the political calendar year. >> romney is pretty high on the list of the people who have contacted voters, which is interesting because he doesn't have a huge campaign there. >> where do you think that comes from? i wonder if it was out-of-state phone banking. >> which has the same effect as a neighbor down the road. >> he has about five staff in the state. but he was up around 30% of likely caucusgoers saying they heard from the romney campaign. what do you think? >> people are doing other campaigns from their homes. but i think in iowa, to get back to the original point, i think what gingrich faces there is not only bachmann, but also perry and also ron paul and santorum. i think that's his achilles
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heel. >> unlike mitt romney who's not necessarily contending -- you are looking live at the white house where president obama and iraqi prime minister nuri al maliki will hold a joint press conference any minute. stay with us for live coverage on msnbc. when you have tough pain, do you want fast relief?
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everyone wondered, could newt gingrich handle the challenge of being a frontrunner in a debate? and the reviews so far seem mostly positive. we are waiting still for the prime minister and the president, prime minister nuri al maliki of iraq and president obama who will be having a joint press conference any minute now. we are now talking about the news of this weekend, which is newt gingrich and his, i would
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say, maybe, possibly, even formidable showing at the debate. i want to talk about one thing in particular. the issue of marital infidelity has dogged him. i want to play the sound of gingrich from the debate and talk about how he sort of fielded it. >> i think it's a very, very important issue. and i think people have to render judgment. in my case, i said up front openly, i've made mistakes at times. i've had to go to god for forgiveness, i've had to seek reconciliation. but i'm also a 68-year-old grandfather. people have to measure the person i am now and whether i'm someone they can report. >> there was a great piece analyzing this saying he handled it in a fashion that it may become a non-issue. do you guys agree with that? >> i think to some extent there is the fact about iowa -- my other number, 73% of all republican caucusgoers in 2008
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are over 45, which means that they were voting at the moment when newt gingrich pulled off the biggest republican miracle in 50 years, winning back the house. and that catches him, gives him a lot of slack and it's also the "i'm 68 years old" -- that was another -- >> and "i'm a grandfather". >> i thought the grandfather line was very effective. i thought he handled it very well. i do think he has mitigated the effect of it. i also know in talking to sources and romney world around the romney campaign and in iowa, i think he's going to get hit pretty hard in mailers. i think he's going to take some damage over the next few weeks on this. >> yeah. i don't think that debate moment, which was strong for him, is going to be the final word on this. the question is whether there's infidelity advertising dropped on his head. >> it's a big business this time around.
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i want to say as long as we're talking foreign policy, we're saying newt gingrich, he's been called the human hand grenade. as much as he is tackling the marital infidelity thing okay, there is the possibility he goes off at the mouth. he went into history of the ottoman empire. how much do comments like that hurt him? >> certainly for the republican primary where fidelity to israel, it doesn't hurt him at all. >> you're saying cheating on israel is worse than cheating on your wife? >> oh, zingers. >> mitt romney would love that one. the serious point about it is i think that, yes, newt can go
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ballistic at any point. but i think this was deliberatively said by him to pander to a very conservative jewish audience that wanted to hear this. and i think all the cluck-cluck-clucks are general election cluck-cluck-clucks, not republican primary "oh, my gods". >> i think this helps him in the primary and the contrast between him and romney the other night where romney side, i'm not a bomb fare. a bomb thrower, what a statement. >> there's stuff that newt gingrich says and does which is not only bomb-throwing but plain weird. i'm referring to "the new york times" article that talks about his obsession with electromagnetic pulses. >> that's in mitt romney's book. >> that is? >> yes. >> i didn't know that. both of them are obsessed with this.
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>> romney doesn't talk about it. but there's a whole paragraph in romney's book about it. >> but gingrich seems to be waving the flag for emps. you have people at the pentagon who have said, we can sort of neuter this. and this is so gingrichian, if you will, the obsession -- it's almost like the guy wearing the tinfoil hat, you know what i mean? we're likely to see more of that as the campaign goes on. >> i went back to gingrich's book in '95. he predicts honeymoons in space will be quite common in the year 2020 and then he explains for anyone who understands what the lack of gravity can do, you'll understand the appeal. >> this is a part of newt that i've always liked him as a person. he's also written hundreds of the grassroots user-submitted reviews on amazon.
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that's just him tapping away. i think it makes him a really interesting guy. i think the problem politically and substantively is whether a lot of these kooky hobbies bleed into his policies. he also wrote a book with an alternative history like what if hitler were never born? i like someone with a capacious mind. but we're not talking about a children's story about landing on the moon. you wanted to mine for minerals on the moon. what are you talking about? >> the child labor stuff, the lunar mining. >> i remember going back to the early stages, august, early september, talking to romney folks about rick perry who at the time seemed like a very formidable rival to mitt romney. and basically their philosophy, their approach to rick perry is
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it's not going to be any one thing that knocks him out. it's going to be drip, drip, drip. you can see that taking place with newt. people feel like they have a good alternative to romney, sort of. and then there's just one thing after the other. and eventually there's one thing that kind of crystallizes it l all. it could these comment, i don't know. >> i want to telescope out to the broader implications. mark lynch writes a blog for foreign policy. he was part of a roundtable discussion in kuwait about u.s./middle east policy. he tweeted this, first question from kuwaiti press, how can we trust u.s. when gingrich denies -- he answered, i wanted to answer gingrich question with, quote, ignore radical fringe. if we look at this field and we talked a little bit about iowa and how it steers sort of republicans to the right, do you
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think that there are broader implications here in terms of the american brand when we have folks running to be the commander in chief of this country saying the things that they are? >> ideally, the best way to avoid that is to keep foreign policy off the agenda until we have a new president because there is a mismatch between the needs of winning a certain primary and appealing to the global audience. barack obama is the exact opposite. he plays wonderfully to global audiences but is right now with 43% approval. >> we will be talking more about foreign policy on the back half of the show. we have our eye on the white house where we're expecting president obama and iraqi prime minister nuri al maliki holding a press conference at any moment. [ male announcer ] an lg smart tv, lg optimus cell phone
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any minute now, president obama and iraqi prince william nuri al maliki will hold a joint news conference. the two leaders have been meeting to discuss the future of the u.s./iraq relationship. it's moments like these where we are reminded about the middle east in a way that -- and it's not covered enough in the national news media. we've talked about it being collective amnesia. there have been 4,500 troops killed in iraq. obama will be -- president obama will be laying wreaths at arlington national cemetery later today. we're going to bring in richard engel who is live in baghdad and was there when the war first began. richard, thanks for joining us. >> reporter: my pleasure. how are you? >> i'm good. i wonder, who at is the feeling opt ground there in baghdad as
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the withdrawal date approaches? >> reporter: iraqis are very nervous about what this country is becoming. this has been a sectarian war for iraqis. that's the way they've seen it. u.s. troops have seen it as a war against americans because there have been ieds in the road. american helicopters have been shot down. from the u.s. perspective -- >> richard, i hate to cut you off, we're going to go to president obama and iraqi prime minister nuri al maliki at the white house. >> when i took office nearly 150,000 american troops were deployed in iraq. and i pledged to end this war responsibly. today, only several thousand troops remain there and more are coming home every day. this is a season of homecomings. and military families across
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america are being reunited for the holidays. in the coming days, the last american soldiers will cross the border out of iraq with honor and with their heads held high. after nearly nine years, our war in iraq ends this month. today, i'm proud to welcome prime minister maliki, the elected leader of a sovereign, self-reliant and democratic iraq. we're here to mark the end of this war to honor the sacrifices of all those who made this day possible and to turn the page to begin a new chapter in the history between our countries, a normal relationship between sovereign nations, an equal partnership based on mutual interests and mutual respect. iraq faces great challenges but today reflects the impressive progress that iraqis have made.
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millions have cast their ballots, some risking or giving their lives to vote in free elections. the prime minister leads iraq's most inclusive government yet. iraqis are working to build institutions that are efficient and independent and transparent. economically, iraqis continue to invest in their infrastructure and development. and i think it's worth considering some remarkable statistics. in the coming years, it's estimated that iraq's economy will grow even faster than china's or india's, with oil production rising, they will be one of the region's leading oil producers. with respect to security, iraqi forces have been in the lead for the better part of three years, patrolling the streets, dismantling militias, conducting counterterrorism operations. today, despite continued attacks by those who seek to derail
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iraq's progress, violence remains at record lows. mr. prime minister, that's a tribute to your leadership and to the skill and the sacrifices of iraqi forces. across the region, iraq is forging new ties of trade and commerce with its neighbors and iraq is assuming its rightful place among the community of nations. for the first time in two decades, iraq is scheduled to host the next arab league summit. what a powerful message that will send throughout the arab world. people throughout the region will see a new iraq that's determining its own destiny, a country in which people can resolve their issues peacefully and through the democratic process. as we end this war and as iraq faces its future, the iraqi people must know that you will not stand alone. you have a strong and enduring partner in the united states of
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america. so today the prime minister and i are reaffirming our common vision of a long-term partnership between our nations. it's in keeping with our strategy framework agreement and will be like the close relationships we have with other sovereign nations. simply put, we are building a comprehensive partnership. mr. prime minister, you've said that iraqis seek democracy, a state of citizens and not sects. we're partnering to strengthen the institutions upon which iraq's democracy depends -- free election, a vibrant press, a strong civil society, professional police and law enforcement that uphold the rule of law, an independent judiciary that delivers justice fairly and transparent institutions that serve all iraqis. we're partnering to expand our trade and commerce. it will make it easier for our businesses to export and innovate together. we'll share our experiences in
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agriculture and in health care. we'll work together to develop iraq's energy sector, even as the iraqi economy diversifies and will deepen iraq's integration into the global economy. we're partnering to expand the ties between our citizens, especially our young people, through efforts like the full bright program, we're welcoming more iraqi students and future leaders to american to study and form friendships that will bind our nations together for generations to come. and we'll forge more collaborations in areas like science and technology. we'll partner for our shared security. mr. prime minister, we discussed how the united states could help iraq train and equip its forces, not by stationing american troops there or with u.s. bases in iraq. those days are over but rather the kind of training and assistance we offer to other countries. given the challenges we face together in a rapidly changing region, we also agree to establish a new formal channel
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of communication between our national security advisers. and finally we're partnering for regional security, for just as iraq has pledged not to interfere in other nations, other nations must not interfere in iraq. the drawdown in iraq has allowed us to refocus our resources, achieve progress in afghanistan, put al qaeda on the path to defeat and to better prepare for the full range of challenges that lie ahead. so make no mistake, our strong presence in the middle east endures and the united states will never waver in defense of our allies, our partners or our interests. this is the shared vision that prime minister maliki and i reaffirm today. an equal partnership, a broad relationship that advances the security, the prosperity and the aspirations of both our people. mr. prime minister, you've said
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it yourself. building a strong and durable relationship between our two countries is vital. i could not agree more. this is a historic moment. a war is ending. a new day is upon us and let us never forget those who gave us this chance. the untold number of iraqis who have given their lives. more than 1 million americans, military and civilian, who have served in iraq, nearly 4,500 fallen americans who gave their last full measure of devotion. tens of thousands of wounded warriors and so many inspiring military families. they are the reason that we can stand here today. and we owe it to every single one of them. we have a moral obligation to all of them to build a future worthy of their sacrifice. mr. prime minister?
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>> translator: and for the obligations of ending war and the commitment through which the american forces will withdraw from iraq which is a withdrawal that affects -- that indicates success and not like others have said that it was negative. but the goals that we established were a shield. iraq had a political process established, democratic process. and adoption of the principles of elections and the peaceful transfer of authority. iraq is following a foreign
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policy which does not interfere in the affairs of others and does not allow the others to intervene in its own affairs. iraq is looking for common ground with the others and establishes its interest at the forefront and the interests of the others which he's concerned about, like from any confusi confusion -- today, we meet in washington after we have completed the first page of a constructive cooperation in which we also thank you and appreciate you for your commitment to everything that you have committed yourself to and anyone who observes the nature of the relationship between the two corrupts will say that the relationship would not end with the departure -- it only started in 2008.
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we will succeed in defeating terrorism and al qaeda. we must also establish the necessary steps in order to succeed in our second stage which is the dual relationship and the framework, strategic framework agreement as well as the educational and commercial and cultural and judicial and security cooperation fields. iraq now has relied completely on its own security apparatus and internal security as a result of the expertise it gained during the confrontations and the training and equipping. but it remains a need of
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cooperation with the united states of america and the security issues and informations and combatting terrorism and in the area of training and the area of equipping, which is needed by the iraqi army. and we have started that. and we want to complete the process of equipping the iraqi army in order to protect our sovereignty and does not violate the rights of -- nothing to violate the sovereignty of others. today the joint mission is to establish the mechanisms and the commitments that will expedi expedite -- we have reached an agreement and we have held a meeting for the higher joint committee under the chairmanship of mr. biden, the vice president, and myself in baghdad and we spoke about all the details that would put the framework agreement into
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implementation. and here we talk about it and its activations. and there will be other discussions and meetings here in washington in order to put the final touches regarding the necessary mechanisms for cooperation and achieving the common vision that we followed which was based on our common wills and our desire to respect the sovereignty of each other and we feel that we need political cooperation as well in addition to cooperating the security fields, we need that particularly in regard to the matters that are of concern for us as two parties that want to cooperate. the common vision that we used as a point of departure, we have confirmed today. and i am very happy ievery time
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we meet with the american side, i find determination and a strong will to activate the strategic framework agreement. frankly, this is necessary and it serves the interest of iraq as it is necessary and serves the interest of the united states of america. that makes us feel that we will succeed with the same commitment -- common commitment that we had in combatting terrorism and accomplishing the missions that -- the basis of which iraq was dependent. iraq today has a lot of wealth and needs experience and expertise and american and foreign expertise to help iraq exploiting its own wealth in an ideal way. iraq is still suffering from a
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short age of resources. we have developed a strategy to increase the iraqi wealth. we hope american companies will have the largest role in increasing our wealth in the area of oil and other aspects as well. iraq wants to rebuild all the sectors that were harmed because of the war and because of the policies used by the former regime. we need a wide range of -- in the form of education. we have succeeded in signing several agreements through the educational initiative which put hundreds of our college graduates to continue their graduate studies and specialized subject in american universities. and i'm putting it before everyone who is watching the relationship between the u.s. and iraq, it is a very -- it has
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very high aspirations. i would like to renew my thanks for his excellency, the president, for giving me this opportunity. and i wish him the most success, god willing. thank you very much. >> we have time for a few questions. i'm going to start with ben filler of "a.p." >> mr. president, i have two questions for you on the region. you have called for president assad to step down. but prime minister maliki -- i'm wondering if you're worried that iraq could be succumbing to iran's interest on this matter? speaking of iran, are you concerned that it will be able to weaken america's national security by discovering intelligence from the fallen drone that it captured? prime minister maliki, i'd like to ask you the question about
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syria. why haven't you demanded that assad step down given the slaughter of his people? >> first of all, the prime minister and i discussed syria, and we share the view that when the syrian people are being killed or are unable to express themselves, that's a problem. there's no disagreement there. i have expressed my outrage in how the syrian regime has been operating. i do believe that president assad missed an opportunity to reform his government, chose the path of repression and has continued to engage in repressive tactics so that his credibility, his capacity to regain legitimacy inside syria, i think, is deeply eroded. it's not an easy situation.
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i expressed to prime minister maliki my recognition that given syria's on iraq's borders, iraq's in a tough neighborhood, that we will consult closely with them as we move forward. but we believe that international pressure, the approach we've taken along with partners around the world to impose tough sanctions and to call on assad to step down, a position that is increasingly mirrored by the arab league states, is the right position to take. even if there are tactical disagreements between iraq and the united states at this point in how to deal with syria, i have absolutely no doubt that these decisions are being made based on what prime minister maliki believes is best for iraq. not based on considerations of
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what iran would like to see. prime minister maliki has been explicit here in the united states, he's been explicit back in iraq that his interest is maintaining iraqi sovereignty and preventing meddling by anybody inside of iraq. and i believe him. and he has shown himself to be willing to make very tough decisions in the interests of iraqi nationalism, even if they cause problems with his neighbor. and so we may have some different tactical views in terms of how best to transition to an inclusive, representative government inside of syria. but every decision that i believe prime minister maliki is making, he is making on the basis of what he thinks is best for the iraq people.
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and everything that we've seen in our interactions with prime minister maliki and his government over the last several years would confirm that. with respect to the drone inside of iran, i'm not going to comment on intelligence matters that are classified. as has already been indicated, we have asked for it back. we'll see how the iranians respond. >> translator: i know that people must get their freedom and their will and the democracy
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and the citizenship -- we have achieved that ourselves and if we can compare iraq today with the past, we'll find there is a great difference in democracy and elections and freedoms. therefore, we are the aspirations of the syrian people. but i don't have the right to ask a president to abdicate. we must play this role and we cannot give ourselves this right. iraq is a country bordering on syria. i'm concerned about the interest of iraq and the interest of the security of the region. i wish that what is required by the syrian people would be achieved without having -- without affecting the security of iraq. i know the two countries are related to each other and we
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must be very prudent in dealing with this matter. we were with the initiative by the arab league -- frankly speaking because we sovred from the blockade, we do not encourage blockade because it exhausts the people and the government. but we stood with the arab league. and we were very frank and we agreed on an initiative to perhaps -- it will be the last-minute initiative we'll see in the situation and will achieve the required change in syria without any violent operations that could affect the area in general. i believe that all the parties realize the dangers of a sectarian war in iraq and syria and in the region because it will be like a snowball that --
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it will expand and be difficult to control it. we will try to region a solution. i discussed the matter with his excellency, the president, president obama, and the secretary general of the arab league. there is an agreement even from the syrian opposition who are leading the opposition in syria to search for a solution if we can reach a solution, will avoid all the evils and the dangers. and if we don't, there must be another way to reach a solution that will calm the situation in syria and in the area in general. [ speaking in foreign language ] >> translator: establish new relationships to establish the characteristics of a new
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relationship with the united states after the withdrawal of the u.s. forces from iraq. on the framework of the strategic agreement, have you reached specific meganicchanism the implementation? you said there will be long-ranging relationships with iraq. can you tell us exactly -- would iraq be an ally of the united states or just a friend or will have a different type of relationship? thank you very much. >> translator: definitely without mechanisms, we'll not be able to achieve anything we have -- these mechanisms will control our continuous movement. therefore the framework agreement has a higher committee -- a joint committee from the two countries that meets regularly. and it has representatives from all the sectors that we want to
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develop relationships with. commerce industry, agricultural, security, energy. the ideas will be reached and a relationship between the ministries that will implement what is agreed upon, we believe through these two mechanisms, the mechanisms of the joint committee and the mechanisms of contact between each minister and its counterpart, we will achieve success and this will expedite achieving our goals. >> as the prime minister described, i think our goal is to have a comprehensive relationship with iraq. what that means is that on everything from expanding trade and commerce to scientific exchanges to providing assistance as iraq is trying to make sure that electricity and
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power generation a consistent for its people, to joint exercises militarily, to a whole range of issues, we want to make sure that there is a constant communication between our governments, that there are deep and rich exchanges between our two governments and between our peoples. because what's happened over the last several years has linked the united states and iraq in a way that is potentially powerful and could end up benefiting not only america and iraq but also the entire region and the entire world. it will evolve over time. what may be discovered is that there are certain issues that prime minister maliki and his government think are especially important right now.
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for example, making sure that oil production is ramped up and we are helping to encourage global investment in that sector. i know that the prime minister has certain concerns right now militarily that five years from now or ten years from now when the iraqi air force is fully developed or the iraqi navy is fully developed, he has less concern about. our goal is simply to make sure that iraq succeeds because we think a successful democratic iraq can be a model for the entire region. we think an iraq that is inclusive and brings together all people, sunni, shia, kurd, together to build a country, to build a nation can be a model for others aspiring to create democracy in the region. we've got an enormous investment of blood and treasure in iraq. we want to make sure that even as we bring the last troops out,
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that it's well understood both in iraq and here in the united states that our commitment to iraq's success is going to be enduring. chris tty parson? >> thank you. you were a little delayed coming out today. i was wondering if you could talk about any agreement that is you may have reached that you haven't detailed already. for instance, can you talk a little bit more about who will be left behind after the u.s. leaves? how big their footprint will be and what their role will be? and, mr. president, could you also address how convinced you are that the maliki government is ready to govern the country and protect the gains that have been made there in recent years? i also wondered if on this occasion you still think of this as a dumb war. >> i'll take the last question first. i think history will judge the
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original decision to go into iraq. but what's absolutely clear is, as a consequence of the enormous sacrifices that have been made by american soldiers and civilians, american troops and civilians, as well as the courage of the iraqi people, that what we have now achieved is an iraq that is self-governing, that is inclusive and that has enormous potential. there are still going to be challenges. and i think the prime minister is the first one to acknowledge those challenges. many of them, by the way, are economic. after many years of war and before that, a brutal regime,
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it's going to take time to further develop civil society, further develop the institutions of trade and commerce and the free market so that the extraordinary capacity of the iraqi people is fully realized. but i have no doubt that iraq can succeed. with respect to security issues, look, when i came into office, i said, we're going to do this in a deliberate fashion. we're going to make sure that we leave iraq responsibly and that's exactly what we've done. we did it in phases. and because we did it in phases, it -- we were continually able to build up iraqi forces to a point where when we left the cities, violence didn't go up in the cities. when we further reduced our
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footprint, violence didn't go up. and i have no doubt that that will continue. first question you had had to do with what footprint is left. we're taking all of our troops out of iraq. we will not have any bases inside of iraq. we will have a strong diplomatic presence inside of iraq. we've got an embassy there that is going to be carrying out a lot of the functions of this ongoing partnership and executing on this strategic framework agreement. we will be working to set up effective military-to-military ties that are no different from the ties that we have with countries throughout the region and around the world. the iraqi government has already purchased f-16s from us. we've got to train their pilots
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and make sure that they're up and running and that we have an effective iraqi air force. we both have interests in making sure that the ceilings remain open in and around iraq and throughout the region. and so there may be occasion for joint exercises. we both have interests in counterterrorism operations that might undermine iraqi sovereignty but also could affect u.s. interests. and we'll be working together on those issues. but what we are doing here today and what we'll be executing over the next several months is a normalization of the relationship. we will have a strong friend and partner in iraq. they will have a strong friend and partner in us. but as one based on iraqi sovereignty and one based on equal partnerships, mutual interests and mutual respect. and i'm absolutely confident that we're going to be able to
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execute that over the long term. while i'm at it, since this may be the last question i receive, i just want to acknowledge, none of this would be successful, obviously, without our extraordinary men and women in uniform. and i'm very grateful for the prime minister asking to travel to arlington to recognize those sacrifices. there are also some individuals here who have been doing a bang-up job over the last year to help bring us to this day. and i just want to acknowledge general lloyd austin who was a warrior and turns out is also a pretty good diplomat as well as ambassador jim jeffries. both of them have done extraordinary work on the ground partnering with their iraqi counterparts. and i'm going to give a special shout-out to my friend and partner, joe biden, who i think ever since i came in has helped to establish high-level, strong
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links and dialogue between the united states and iraq through some difficult times. and i think prime minister maliki would agree that the vice president's investment in making this successful has been hugely important. >> translator: thank you very much. i believe the remaining of the question that was given was answered by his excellency, the president. the dialogues were to confirm the confidence and to move to the implementation of the framework agreement, to train our soldiers or the weapons bought from america and the need for expertise in other civil fields and the protection of their movement to iraq. we also talked about the political issues, which is a
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common interest for us. and we focus also about the question of armament. as the president said, iraq has bought some weapons and now is applying for buying other weapons to develop its capabilities in the protection of iraq. these are all titles of what we discussed. but it was done in an atmosphere of harmony. >> translator: mr. prime minister, you stated that there is a cooperation in the area of armament. can you tell us the amount of military cooperation between the united states and baghdad and this area specifically? have you received any promises from president obama, regarding specifically -- of the u.s. embassy in baghdad.

NOW With Alex Wagner
MSNBC December 12, 2011 9:00am-10:00am PST

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